The Crazy World of Limousine Leftists Reply

The adventures of Jane Fonda.

Actually, I’ve always thought the right-wing is too hard on Hanoi Jane. Whatever her faults, she was right about Nixon’s war crimes in Indochina.

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One day, at the height of her fame in the mid-Seventies, Jane Fonda turned up on the doorstep of her ex-husband, Roger Vadim. She was lugging a bulging sack.

Vadim’s glamorous new girlfriend let her in, thrilled to meet the movie icon at last. But her excitement soon turned to disbelief. The star of Julia, Klute and The China Syndrome had come to do her laundry.

Why? Because her second husband, Tom Hayden, a Left-wing activist with a bulbous nose and acne-scarred cheeks, had forbidden her to have either a washing machine or dishwasher. Far too bourgeois.

Jane Fonda had a turbulent marriage to her second husbandJane Fonda had a turbulent marriage to her second husband

Not only that, but he’d made her sell her comfortable house in Los Angeles and buy a shabby two-bedroom shack in Santa Monica that smelled of mildew, where the couple shared a mattress on the floor. She couldn’t even wear her Cartier wristwatch any more, because Hayden disliked any show of possessions. So she’d replaced it with a cheaper Timex.

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Elizabeth Wright, RIP Reply

Obituary by Richard Spencer.

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I am saddened to learn of the death of Elizabeth Wright, the long-time editor of Issues and Views and a frequent writer for this online magazine. In AltRight’s infancy, Elizabeth made outstanding contributions, including devastating critiques of the Tea Party movement, all of which are worth revisiting.

I hesitate to use casual language, but if I could sum up Elizabeth’s writing in a phrase, it would be that she was willing and able to cut through the crap—to dispense with pretty lies and taboos in search of the truth, regarding race, politics, culture, and a host of other matters she examined. On a number of occasions in private conversation, my friend Paul Gottfried compared Elizabeth’s penetrating and undeceived mind to that of Sam Francis. A high compliment, indeed.

That Elizabeth was one of a kind, and irreplaceable, makes her death all the more heart-breaking. Without question, the history of the 20th century would have been different if Black Americans had looked to conservatives like Elizabeth, as opposed to the civil-rights industry, for wisdom and guidance.

She will be missed

***

Jared Taylor’s remembrance of Elizabeth can be read here.

Anders Breivik, Mainstream Islamophobia, and the Far Right Reply

Article by Matthew Lyons.

This is a very good analysis of all the subtle ideological variations of the Right with regards their attitudes towards Islam.

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Anders Behring Breivik has been called a neonazi and a Christian fundamentalist. Both of these labels are misleading, although both contain elements of truth. Breivik is an Islamophobe and a right-wing conspiracy monger, but he does not promote Nazi-style Jew-hatred or call for imposing Biblical doctrines on society. His strongest political influences appear to be pro-Zionist, largely secular “counter-jihadists” who disavow traditional racism and maintain significant ties with political elites.

Understanding Breivik’s politics not only helps us understand the July 22 massacre in Norway for which he has accepted responsibility, but also highlights important trends and interconnections in right-wing politics in Europe, the U.S., and beyond. This is a difficult task given the size and complexity of Breivik’s 1,500-page manifesto/compilation 2083 – A European Declaration of Independence, not to mention his other writings. His work draws on many different political sources, which do not always agree with each other. For these reasons, any summation of Breivik’s politics at this point needs to be tentative. So far I have only read bits and pieces of Breivik’s writings and am relying here primarily on others’ excerpts and interpretations. I hope that my efforts to pull the pieces together are useful.

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Tolerance: Not a Two-Way Street? Reply

Article by Jim Goad.

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The rabidly politicized, mad-as-hell, accept-us-or-die quotient of gay Americans—at last count, somewhere between 97 to 99 percent of them—seem determined to prove that they can get just as offended as your average hillbilly breeder mountaineer, if not more so.

It’s as if they’re taking it to the streets, up into the hills, and down into the hollers to spread a simple message—“You think you can get offended, you stupid, hateful, one-toothed, inbred, Christ-worshiping rednecks? You ain’t seen an uptight bunch of whiny wah-wah emotionally retarded walking fetuses until you’ve tangled with us!”

Exhibit A: The highly publicized story of butch cunnilinguists Jennifer Tipton and Olivier Odom, the latter of whom on Tuesday apparently didn’t deem it an act of cultural provocation to attend Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Splash Country up in the generally Christian, generally conservative, generally heterosexual Appalachian Mountains while clad in a “[marriage is so gay]” sleeveless T-shirt that showcased Odom’s rippling biceps and tribal forearm tattoo.

At the entrance, a park official requested that Odom turn his her T-shirt inside-out in compliance with a park policy that bans potentially “offensive” apparel and body adornments. Odom complied, then filed a complaint with the park, and then apparently went crying to a receptive and empathetic press. Her partner Jennifer Tipton, whose voice isn’t nearly as deep nor her hair quite as short, said she found it “so offensive” that park officials found Odom’s muscle shirt so offensive. She also accused Splash Country of hypocrisy for not banning “rebel flags” and “offensive tattoos” among its other patrons.

“Clearly, offensiveness is in the eye of the beholder. So is the concept of whether acting like a barbarian when in Rome makes one an asshole.”

Between Thought and Action in Norway Reply

Article by Jim Goad.

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When I first read Ted Kaczynski’s Industrial Society and its Future, better known as The Unabomber Manifesto, I was impressed with how logically dispassionate it was, especially its devastating dissection of leftist masochism and hostility. Each paragraph—sequentially numbered as if they were biblical verses—built upon the previous one with mathematical precision, and I found myself nodding along with Kaczynski’s premise that technology was potentially the biggest threat to personal freedom in world history.

And then, walking placidly through all that ice-cold logic, I stubbed my toe on this line: “In order to get our message before the public with some chance of making a lasting impression, we’ve had to kill people.”

A Norwegian police officer who assisted in Friday’s arrest of Anders Behring Breivik described Breivik’s demeanor as “cold as ice,” an especially disquieting observation when one considers he was talking about a man who’d just claimed the Spree Killing World Record by piling up at least 76 bodies—eight via a fertilizer car bomb in downtown Oslo and 68 using automatic weapons at a Labour Party youth camp on Utøya Island.

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Ten Things I Hate About the Right Reply

Article by Gavin McInnes.

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The left gets a serious going-over on this site. Not that they don’t deserve it. If you come screaming into the room with an aluminum water bottle on your backpack and start ridiculing everyone for being ignorant, people are going to make fun of you. It’s fun to expose liberal hypocrisy, but the downside is that you get lumped in with Republican tight-asses. They can be just as irritating. For example…

1. THEY EXPECT DONATIONS
Conservative intellectual Bill Whittle recently did a great video called Walking Into Mordor where he explains how naïve it is to assume the rich can solve all our problems. He blames Hollywood for this assumption—which is fine—and then says he’s going to make his own pro-free-market movie. That’s even better. Then the guy puts a link up asking for donations to make this movie. What? Socialists such as Michael Moore may employ non-union workers, but at least they use real money to criticize America. Ever heard of an ad? I love me some VDARE, and Steve Sailer is brilliant, but both of them also ask for donations. If you can’t sell ads for your company, find someone who can and put them to work. That’s what I’ve done for every company I’ve started, and that’s why I can afford to be such a pedantic prick about it. You can’t mock liberals for assuming everyone who disagrees with them is on the Koch payroll and then quietly ask strangers to bankroll you. It’s bad manners to scoff at the very notion of political donations and then openly solicit them.

“Youth may be wasted on the young, but never really being wasted at all is just as bad.”

2. THEY TAKE CATHOLICISM SERIOUSLY
Hearing atheists rant is enough to make you wish you were in a foxhole. They are self-righteous and cruel and have no respect for the fact that we are living in a country that is 75% Christian. I’m not saying the believers are as irritating as the nonbelievers, they’re just…weird. You actually believe all that stuff with the guy in the gigantic hat and the jewel-encrusted robe shaking the thing with the water in it at everybody? What are you, Haitian? Hearing smart conservatives seamlessly lapse into a discussion about how they met the archdiocesan coordinator at the annual Vatican congregation of the Holy Spirit vows of the papal Christ throne, etc., is like someone pushed a Star Trek button on the conversation and turned it into bullshit. I don’t get how someone could call themselves pragmatic and rational and then talk about all this ancient astrology with a straight face.

3. THEY THINK IT’S BAD TO LET VEGETABLES DIE
I’m sure there are plenty of cases where someone has been at death’s door and just as people were giving up on them, they came back. That’s nice, but we all know the difference between murder and euthanasia is like the difference between porn and erotica—you can tell merely by looking. If they’re in a coma and it’s been a few months, let’s stop kidding ourselves and pull the plug. If grandpa is so old he can’t watch TV because he can’t follow the plot, it’s time to stop wiping his ass and let him go. The fact that most conservatives seem so averse to this makes me think they’re capable of brainwashing themselves into ignoring what’s right in front of their eyes.

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An Alien Pod Person in a Room Full of Leftists 5

Article by Gavin McInnes.

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There is a phenomenon here in the Northeast where being conservative—no, wait, being not left—is to turn everyone in the room into Donald Sutherland from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, screaming and pointing at you as if you’re an alien pod person.

I hear Berkeley is bad, and Madison is the only place I’ve ever seen one-person protest marches, but here in New York things are intense. It is a given that the political right is a cartoon pig who will do anything for money and wants everyone who isn’t a cartoon pig to die. The End. Nobody has ever questioned this and every time I do, it creates a hole in the space-time continuum that swallows the entire universe, or at least ruins the party.

During a break while I was working on a travel show recently, Anthony Bourdain was sitting at the lunch table and mentioned he’d like to skin Glenn Beck alive. Everyone nodded as if he’d said he enjoys tiramisu. I kept my mouth shut. A few months earlier I was in a similar environment when a cameraman casually mentioned he’d like to “kick Sarah Palin in the cunt.” This got the same placid reaction and when I begged to differ, it started a two-hour argument that ruined everybody’s day. That’s the problem with grazing amid a leftist herd. You’re constantly on the edge of a huge argument.

But when you don’t say anything, you hate yourself. I was on vacation in Mexico with a group consisting mostly of comedy writers, and a conversation began about Al Gore’s wonderfulness. I kept my mouth shut because I didn’t want to bum everyone out (especially my wife), but I didn’t sleep well that night and it still bothers me.

“How did we get to this point? The way I remember things, the left used to be the chin-scratching, idea-weighing side where dissent was encouraged.”

During a dinner party in Maine, the hostess told us a bunch of Internet rednecks ruined the immigration-reform bill on which she’d been working. I confessed I was one of said rednecks, and a nice dinner turned into a nice big fight that ended the night early. As everyone angrily grabbed their coats, the host said to my wife, “Your husband is a big bore,” and we haven’t been invited back, but I have no regrets about that night.

How did we get to this point? The way I remember things, the left used to be the chin-scratching, idea-weighing side where dissent was encouraged. I don’t think my views have changed. I still hate the government and despite the laughter it brings, I’d still call myself a feminist. The problem is, when the president is black and the fanatics who are oppressing women are brown, it’s racist to complain about the government and religion. The left went from thinking outside the box to becoming myopically fixated on anything that sounds mean or benefits “white males” (AKA someone who reminds them of dad). What remains is a sea of knee-jerk liberals who aren’t just intolerant of other points of view, they literally can’t handle the truth.

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A Reply to Matthew Lyons, Part Three: Sheep, Wolves, and Owls 55

This is the final in a series of essays in response to Matthew Lyons’ critique “Rising Above the Herd: Keith Preston’s Authoritarian Anti-Statism.” And here is the transcript of a recent lecture by Lyons where yours truly gets a couple of mentions. Part One may be viewed here. Part Two may be seen here.

By Keith Preston

“‘As long as the sun shall shine upon man’s misfortunes, the sheep will be eaten by the wolf.’ All that is left is, for those who know and can, to avoid becoming sheep.” –

-Vilfredo Pareto, The Rise & Fall of Elites

“(There is) a perpetual struggle between ‘freedom’ and ‘authority’; neither one of which will be annihilated. It appears, indeed, that we are left with a politics of perpetual protest. There cannot be any point at which those dedicated to liberty can sit back in security and assume the world is in peace, harmony and freedom…(E)ven if anarchy were to be achieved, eternal vigilance would be the bare minimum price for a modicum of success…(T)here is no final battle. The battle is forever.”

-Harold Barclay, Anarchist anthropologist

“What the common man longs for in this world, before and above all his other longings, is the simplest and most ignominious sort of peace — the peace of a trusty in a well-managed penitentiary. He is willing to sacrifice everything else to it. He puts it above his dignity and he puts it above his pride. Above all, he puts it above his liberty. The fact, perhaps, explains his veneration for policemen, in all the forms they take — his belief that there is a mysterious sanctity in law, however absurd it may be in fact. A policeman is a charlatan who offers, in return for obedience, to protect him (a) from his superiors, (b) from his equals, and (c) from himself. “

H. L. Mencken

“…a series of fundamental misconceptions…which prevented (man) from learning the lessons of the past, and…now put his survival in question. The first of these..is putting the blame for man’s predicament on his selfishness, greed, etc.; in a word, on the aggressive, self-assertive tendencies of the individual…I would like to suggest that the integrative tendencies of the individual are incomparably more dangerous than his self-assertive tendencies.”

Arthur Koestler

Matthew Lyons depicts the philosophical foundations that inform my political views in this way:

Preston’s opposition to the state is based on a radically anti-humanistic philosophy of elitism, ruthless struggle, and contempt for most people.

Preston embraces “a philosophical conservatism regarding human nature and the nature of society,” whose tenets include “natural inequality of persons at both the individual and collective levels, [and] the inevitability and legitimacy of otherness…”He is harshly critical of the left’s egalitarianism and universalism. Instead, he offers an elitist, anti-humanist philosophy that echoes Friedrich Nietzsche, Ernst Jünger, and Ayn Rand:

those who obtain the upper hand in the ongoing power struggle will almost always be the most ruthless, cunning and merciless of the competitors. The wolves will always win out over the sheep. Within the bleak framework of a perpetual war of each against all, there from time to time arises the exceedingly rare individual whom Nietzsche referred to as the “ubermensch.” This is the individual of superior will, strength, mind, spirit, discipline, intelligence, intuition, perceptiveness, shrewdness, wisdom, creativity, inventiveness, generosity and other such characteristics that set the human species a half step above the other animals. It is this individual who becomes the “anarch,” the “egoist,” the one who rises above the perpetual fog in which both the sheepish people and their vicious masters dwell…. It is persons such as these who carry with them the seeds of cultural and civilizational growth. For any sort of human existence to emerge beyond that of the merely animalistic, this type of individual must thrive…

Preston argues further that “the first purpose of any politics or ethics beyond the purely material or defensive” must be to protect and foster these rare, superior individuals, the anarchs. “It is apparent that the political framework most conducive to the advancement of the anarch is some sort of anarchism.” In other words, the main reason Preston supports anarchism is not to liberate all people — but to help a handful of superior individuals rise above the bestial mass of humanity.

This is a generally accurate portrayal of my view of human nature and the nature of human societies, as the extensive quotations from me in the above passages from Lyons’ essay would indicate. Just as Lyons’ critique of my economic outlook provides, on a general level, an illustration of the historic differences between the Marxist and Anarchist approaches to political economy, so does his critique also exemplify one of the most crucial philosophical conflicts in the history of modern Western political philosophy. This is the battle between egalitarianism and non-egalitarianism. This conflict is not necessarily a struggle between the Left and Right. As no less a man of the Right than Richard Spencer has observed:

 

…in my fantasyland, there would still be a Left and a Right—and granolas and libertarians and animal rights activists and Mormons, et al.—but they would operate within Western unity and natural hierarchy.

Some, no doubt, might counter that you can’t have a “non-egalitarian Left.” But I don’t agree with this at all. Jack London was a collectivist; HL Mencken, an anarchist; both were “leftists,” of sorts, and both rejected egalitarianism. And they both operated on a different planet than the whole spectrum of contemporary Leftists and Rightists, from Glenn Beck to Cornell West.

To this list of anti-egalitarian liberals and leftists could be added the socialist George Bernard Shaw, the anarchist Pierre Joseph Proudhon, and the classical liberal John Stuart Mill, all of whom expressed skepticism of the tendency of modern democracy towards ochlocracy. In his discussions of the conflicting visions of humanity and society found in traditional Western thought, Thomas Sowell has identified Plato as a proto-typical utopian radical and Aristotle as a proto-typical conservative realist. Yet it is interesting to note that neither of these two of the greatest thinkers from antiquity were egalitarians.

It should be a matter of common understanding that human beings are not “equal” on either an innate or behavioral level. Wide variation exists among human types with regards to both intellectual ability and physical or psychological fitness. It is therefore obvious that any sort of prosperous civilization with functional institutions must rank the intelligent over the stupid, the healthy over the diseased, the physically fit over the disabled, and the psychologically stable over the mentally disturbed. Persons with Down’s syndrome are not going to be neurosurgeons. Stratification must also exist whereby the wise are ranked over the foolish, the competent over the incompetent, the sober over drunks and addicts, the productive over the lazy, and so forth. Not even the most ideologically rigid leftist-anarchist commune could survive for very long and tolerate freeloaders, moochers, predators, or perpetually destructive or disruptive individuals, no matter how fervently committed the communards were to their egalitarian ideals.

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A Reply to Matthew Lyons, Part Two: The Subjectivity of Authoritarianism and Special Pleading as Ideology 28

This is the second in a series of essays in response to Matthew Lyons’ critique “Rising Above the Herd: Keith Preston’s Authoritarian Anti-Statism.” And here is the transcript of a recent lecture by Lyons where yours truly gets a couple of mentions. Part One may be viewed here.

by Keith Preston

“If the individual cannot get along with the community, and the community cannot tolerate the individual, what real good will state intervention produce—wouldn’t separation be, in any world, the rational, noncoercive, nonviolent solution? Yes, it might be possible to contrive a state process that would force a Jewish Community to accept the Nazi Individual, or a White Community the despised Black, or a Fundamentalist Community the threatening Atheist. But it needs only for the principle of free travel to be observed—to the advantage of both the leavers and the stayers—and the Nazi, the Black, the Atheist can all find congenial communities of their own. The virtue of a multi-communitied world would be precisely that there would be within its multitude of varieties a home for everyone.”

Kirkpatrick Sale

“Adolf Hitler as chancellor of Germany is a horror; Adolf Hitler at a town meeting would be an asshole.”

–Karl Hess

“When a previously disadvantaged group rises to power, it exploits its new position just as did the group or groups it has displaced.”

-Mark A. Schneider, American sociologist

“The ultimate aim of multiculturalism is the creation of a totalitarian state ordered as a type of caste system where individual privilege is assigned on the basis of group identity and group privilege is assigned on the basis of the position of the group in the pantheon of the oppressed.”

-Keith Preston

The core aspects of Lyons’ objections to my own outlook are fairly well summarized in the following passages from his critique, and these comments from Lyons are also fairly representative of the most common arguments against my views offered by Leftists:

Preston only acknowledges oppression along lines of race, gender, sexuality, or other factors to the extent that these are directly promoted by the state, particularly through formal, legal discrimination against specific groups of people. Arguing that “the state is a unique force for destruction,” Preston ignores or trivializes the dense network of oppressive institutions and relationships that exist outside of, and sometimes in opposition to, the state. It is these societally based systems of oppression, not state intervention, that perpetuate dramatic wealth disparities between whites and people of color, widespread domestic violence that overwhelmingly target women, and suicide rates much higher among LGBT teens than heterosexual teens, among many other examples.

Preston portrays secession as a voluntary process, in which many varied groups of people decide to go their own separate ways and coexist peaceably side by side. But what does “voluntary” mean in a context where wives are expected to submit to the authority of their husbands, workers to obey their bosses, or homosexuality is regarded as a perversion and a crime? And how long would peaceable coexistence last in the face of absolutist ideologies that are inherently expansionist? The leaders of a Christian Right statelet would believe that homosexuality and feminism are wrong not only within the statelet’s borders, but everywhere, and they would feel a religious duty to enforce this belief as widely as possible.

The bottom line is that the primary objection to anarcho-pluralism, pan-secessionism, national-anarchism, anarcho-libertarianism and overlapping perspectives raised by leftists such as Lyons is their fear that some individuals, institutions, organizations, or communities is such a meta-political framework will practice values disapproved of by leftists or engage in discrimination against groups favored by leftists. The selective and arbitrary nature of such criticism is easy enough to identify. Imagine if a right-wing critic of anarcho-pluralism were to make comments such as the following:

Preston only acknowledges oppression resulting from liberalism and the Left to the extent that these are directly promoted by the state, particularly through formal, legal discrimination against specific groups of people. Arguing that “the state is a unique force for destruction,” Preston ignores or trivializes the dense network of oppressive institutions and relationships that exist outside of, and sometimes in opposition to, the state. It is these societally based systems of oppression, not state intervention, that perpetuate dramatic disparities in  the rate of violent crimes perpetrated against whites by blacks and Hispanics, widespread dissemination of pornography that contributes to sex crimes and social decay, and the promotion of drug use, sexual promiscuity and homosexuality leading to teen pregnancy, illegitimacy, drug abuse, broken families, child neglect, venereal diseases, crime, welfare dependency and other social pathologies .

Preston portrays secession as a voluntary process, in which many varied groups of people decide to go their own separate ways and coexist peaceably side by side. But what does “voluntary” mean in a context where leftist localities have the option of banning private firearms and private property, where urban white families have to live among and send their children to schools with violent black youth, or where Christianity is regarded as a backward superstition and a dangerous threat to freedom and progress? And how long would peaceable coexistence last in the face of absolutist ideologies that are inherently expansionist? The leaders of a Marxist statelet would believe that Christianity and private property are wrong not only within the statelet’s borders, but everywhere, and they would feel an ideological duty to enforce this belief as widely as possible.

Such criticisms would correctly be dismissed as special pleading on behalf of right-wing ideological values, political interest groups and favorite causes. One of the principal ideas behind anarcho-pluralism is the recognition that irreconcilable differences between different political factions and population groups will always exist, and the need to establish societal institutions that are capable of accommodating such differences in a way that avoids both bloodshed and the subjugation of some groups by others. With regards to the “authoritarianism” question, it is necessary to point out that abstract notions like “freedom,” “liberty,” and so forth are understood in radically different ways by different kinds of people. Lyons gives no evidence that his own ideological preferences are somehow decreed by the cosmos, by some divine creator, or by natural law. The bottom line is that the political and social preferences of leftists like Lyons reflect the subjective value judgments of individuals and groups in the same manner as any other kind of assertion of ideological principles. Leftism is ultimately just another tribe like Christianity, Islam, fascism, libertarianism, Satanism, or veganism.

The selectivity of Lyons’ criticisms is further illustrated by his choice of which groups to attack from the list of potential constituents for anarcho-pluralism that I have identified. He focuses on three of these: the League of the South, Christian Exodus, and believers in Christian Identity. He chooses not offer any criticism of “Marxist-Leninists,” “Islamic rightists,” “people of color nationalist movements,” “militant environmentalists,” and so forth. It is only those tendencies that claim to speak for the interests of white Christians that he seems particularly concerned about. This raises the question of whether it is really “authoritarianism” that Lyons is worried about or whether it is merely white Christians as a general population group whom he regards as the problem with political “authoritarianism” not really being all that important if it is controlled by leftists and their allies or constituents.

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Left and Right Contrasted: A Reply to Larry Gambone 4

I recently commented on Larry Gambone’s explanation for “conservative support among ordinary people.” See the earlier post which includes a link to Larry’s initial comments. Larry’s critique of the Right provoked a lot of negative comments from our readers, even among those who lean leftward in many ways. I was actually somewhat surprised by that. Larry has since added some follow up comments to his original post, in particular a response to our colleague Quagmire. Read the thread here. Here are some observations of my own in reply to some of Larry’s arguments:

Working people have been under attack from right-wing and right-wing ideology-influenced governments for the past 30 years. Living standards and working conditions have declined because of this.

No disagreement here. Neoliberalism is a class war against the bottom layers.

Right-wingers don’t believe in freedom from the government, they are hypocrites in this regard. State capitalism is fine as long as it serves THEIR interests. The biggest aspect of out of control government spending is the military, but they are not for cutting that. The biggest form of government interference on the populace has to do with the War For Drugs, they are not for abolishing this and ceasing to treat addiction as a crime. The contrary here in Canada, they wish to do away with the previous government’s baby steps toward a rational policy re drugs.

This is certainly true of the mainstream neocon-led, Republican-oriented Right. I’ve written a substantial amount of material over the years attacking all of this. But these criticisms do not necessarily apply to all factions of the Right. There are plenty of dissident rightists-libertarians, palecons, alternative rightists-who oppose some or all of these.

The left does not wish to force people to have an abortion, or to make everyone smoke pot, nor does it try to stuff religion down everyones throat – but the right does.

I’ve encountered plenty of liberals and leftists, at least in the U.S., who support drug prohibition, though I agree such sentiments are more prevalent among “conservatives.” But it’s also true that liberals and leftists have plenty of statist preferences of their own. They may favor legal abortion, but they want to ban private firearms. Many of them wish to ban smoking in pubs and other forms of statist intrusiveness. In areas of the US that are the most leftward leaning, there have been efforts to ban foods not conforming to the therapeutic values of the Left. San Francisco tried to enact a ban on giving away toys with fast food. There are plenty of feminists who wish to censor pornography and criminalize sex workers or their clients. There are plenty of leftists who wish to ban literature or other forms of media deemed racist or sexist. In areas of the US where secularism is the strongest, children can be punished in school for saying a prayer before a meal or possessing a Bible, crucifix or other religious artifacts.

Jemmy Hope said: And they have Fox News and the rest of Murdoch’s propaganda machine to do it. What have we got? Money talks, spouts lies.

Neocon mouthpieces like FOX and talk radio are a minority  among the mainstream US media. The bulk of the American media reflects the standard corporate liberal outlook, e.g. CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, etc.

Take the economic effects of immigration – they are minimal and if people were really interested in having people stay home rather than immigrate they would be front and centre in helping to overcome the problems that cause the immigration in the first place.

If the economic effects of mass immigration are minimal, why do neoliberal mouthpieces like the Wall Street Journal push open borders so fervently? Mass immigration is about creating a helot class in North America that replaces the traditional working class in the emerging Brasillianized/McDonaldized economy. The Left goes along with this because they see immigrants as prospective political constituents and  allies in the culture/race war.

Where are the right-wingers fighting against NAFTA or the US meddling in the affairs of Mexico and Central America? No, they blame and attack the immigrants instead.

Again, that’s true of the mainstream Right, not necessarily the dissident Right. I’ve been attacking corporate imperialism and US military interventionism for twenty-five years.

As for abortion, the anti-abortion types cry copiously over a match-head size fetus, but 20,000,000 REAL children dying every year of malnutrition and lack of potable water?

That’s true of some pro-lifers, but not all. You find a greater interest in “social justice,” for lack of a better term, among younger pro-lifers and evangelical Christians, for instance.

And it IS sexism to deny a woman’s right to chose. If anti-abortionists were only against abortions for themselves, no one would complain, yet they wish to impose their views on other women. Also the anti-abortionist ideology stems from patriarchal religion, which by its very nature is misogynist.

The problem with this is that there are plenty of women, probably as many as there are men, in the pro-life movement. And conservative religious denominations, at least in the US, typically have more female participants than male ones.

In other words, even though some leftists might be a bit extreme with these claims from time to time, in general the analysis bears up, and thus the left is rational and the right based upon prejudice and fear.

That’s a fairly presumptuous statement. What about the lengthy history of bloody terrorism and repression sponsored by leftist movements and regimes?

The left has been successful in changing the language, but not necessarily the underlying feelings. At one time people were proud to declare themselves racists and spiced their conversation with racial and ethnic slurs. Same goes with women or gays. Few men would declare that women are inferior or that gays are criminal and should be persecuted.

Well, nowadays people can be criminally prosecuted for criticizing Islam or homosexuality. So things have come full circle. In a nation where only 13% of the population is black, a black man was elected head of state. That would have been unthinkable back in the 1950s. The bottom line is that the culture war is over, and the Left has scored a knock out victory.

One attempts to cover ones prejudices with seeming rational or moral claims. Code words are used, such as “crime”, which refers to Blacks. It now becomes the task of the critical thinker to extricate the prejudice from within the mass of polite verbiage and supposed economic and moral reasons.

In some instances, but violent street crime among minority groups is a genuinely serious problem in US society. It’s not just racist whites who are concerned about this. Blacks and other racial minorities are among the primary victims of this kind of crime. For instance, many blacks who wish to live in a white neighborhood will cite fear of crime in black neighborhoods as their motivation.

A standard principle of conflict theory is that former outgroups become just as abusive and oppressive as whatever they replaced upon gaining power. We’re seeing that now with the Left that has gained power since the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

The Tribal Bubble Reply

Article by Jack Donovan.
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We cannot really love ‘in the abstract;’ we can love only those whom we know. Thus the appeal even to our best emotions, love and compassion, can only tend to divide mankind into different categories. And this will be more true if the appeal is made to lesser emotions and passions. Our ‘natural’ reaction will be to divide mankind into friend and foe; into those who belong to our tribe, to our emotional community, and those who stand outside it; into believers and unbelievers; into compatriots and aliens; into class comrades and class enemies; and into leaders and led.
Karl Popper, The Open Society and its Enemies (1945)

MoveOn.org President Eli Pariser recently gave a TED talk based on his book, The Filter Bubble.

Pariser has discovered that search engines, social networks and various content providers are filtering out news and ideas that may not appeal to us, based on our individual search histories. This is happening and it is not making us more “well rounded.”

Interestingly, Pariser is concerned that partly because we are becoming more isolated within these “filter bubbles” of friendly data, we are losing our sense of national identity, our sense of civic responsibility and our connection to each other. We only see the kind of information we “like,” and we aren’t likely to be challenged. He says we’re back in the early 20th century again, back when newspapers were the gatekeepers of information and they slanted the news as they saw fit.

For a moment, somewhere in the mid-20th, journalists appointed themselves as guardians of Truth and Objectivity—but they were never truly objective. Who ever is?

Pariser appeals naively to Google and other companies to engineer a new kind of “journalistic integrity” into their search engines, for the national good. The problem is that these massive companies have a global clientele, with global interests. They are not rooted in blood or soil or culture. Globocorp’s sole responsibility is to its bottom line, and it must follow profit wherever it may lead. A company like IKEA, Panasonic, or Coca-Cola takes an interest in many, many nations, and is loyal to no people or place. Corporations make calculated gestures when necessary, but Pariser is not appealing to a Hearst, he’s appealing to an international legal machine.

In lieu of corporate benevolence, Pariser offers 10 ways for concerned readers to control their filter bubbles. Most people won’t bother. Most people simply don’t care. As Mark Zuckerberg said, “A squirrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa.”

Pariser mentioned in passing that the Internet’s “founding mythology” promised a world of people who were more connected to one another, but he complained that this hasn’t actually happened.  It hasn’t happened because that’s only what people publicly say they want. What they privately, or subconsciously, desire is what these companies are giving them: new ways to separate themselves from others and form competing identity groups. Marketing people are better psychologists than psychologists.

Like Patrick Bateman, people say they care about “ending hunger” and genocide and so forth, but they don’t really care about people dying in Africa. Not in any personal, emotionally connected way. The concern they express is a social affectation. If Robin Dunbar is to be believed,we can’t care about people in Africa. Not really. It’s been found that, even on Facebook, most of us can only maintain a meaningful friendship with 150 or so people. Everyone else is a virtual friend—or a virtual stranger. Our brains are wired for small communities, not “one world tribe.”

We seek out ways to create in-groups and out-groups. Sometimes we do this playfully, as with sporting rivalries, though it is not unusual for sports fans to become violent or angry on behalf of their teams. Often we do it politically, ideologically, socially, racially, nationally. We form philosophical cliques and movements. East coast vs. West coast, South side vs. North side, Greeks vs.Trojans, boys against the girls, Democrats vs. Republicans, MoveOn vs. The Tea Party, Christians vs. Muslims vs. Jews, hip-hop vs. punk rock vs. emo, dog lovers vs. cat lovers, Ford vs. Chevy, and Mac vs. PC.

Online social networks have also created a pathway for otherwise average people to separate themselves from the social norms of their geographical location. The chubby check-out girl with the dark eyeliner at a Midwestern Wal-Mart is a Wiccan priestess by night. The guy stocking shoes is “kind of a big deal” on a video game message board. The Mexican buying wife-beaters is an illegal immigrant who “likes” La Raza on Facebook. The guy buying bullets is in a militia, or at least he wants to be. The couple buying soda might be furries.

The growth of the Internet has given heterodox ideologies a far bigger platform than a soap box, and it has spared the haranguing man a face full of rotten tomatoes—and a punch in the nose.

People want to feel different and special, but they also want to feel embattled. They want a compelling conflict narrative that gives their lives meaning, whether they are standing up for the “oppressed” or standing against the tide of unwanted change. Few want what Pariser called a “balanced diet” of information. They may not want junk food, but they know what they “like.” And they know what they “dislike.” They know who and what they want to “hide.”

It’s not just companies who create filter bubbles. We create them ourselves. We pick sides, we exclude, and we do it on purpose.

We choose to read news that appeals to our interests, caters to our biases and reaffirms our sense of group belonging. The carefully pruned newsfeed can become a self-reinforcing reality. A recent Fast Company article called it the “Balkanization of information.” Most of us want to hear voices that “sound very much like our own.” We want to hear the refrains, we want to recite The Law. (Are we not men?) When we venture outside our tribal bubbles on patrol, we don’t go to learn—like chimpanzees, we look for weak, easy targets to pick off. No one on the far right reads The Huffington Post to learn. People on the far left don’t read Alternative Right to understand.

The “uniters” of the world wring their hands because they think this divisiveness is dangerous. They’re right. It is dangerous. They think it robs us of our “humanity.” I disagree. I say it reveals our humanity. It reveals what we are and what we have always been—competing contingents of naked apes with interests of our own.

The mechanized slaughter of the world wars and the advent of the atomic age inspired the hymns of multiculturalists who believed that we could all live together as noble savages in peace and harmony. We sung the hymns, but nothing happened. It’s the same as it ever was. Multiculturalism has failed.

The future is tribal. The time has come to start choosing sides again. And with our allies, far and wide, we will live in our information bubbles, and we will bump against others who are living in theirs.

What is culture, anyway, if not a tribal bubble?

Apocalypse Now? Reply

Article by Justin Raimondo.

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The Republican congressional leadership was in a panic: their covering for the Obama administration’s unconstitutional and unnecessary war in Libya was rapidly unraveling as a resolution by Rep. Dennis Kucinich calling for an end to it gained momentum – among Republicans. Kucinich’s bill gave the administration 15 days to withdraw all US forces and support from NATO’s war, which had never been authorized by Congress.

At the last minute, House Speaker John “Crybaby” Boehner cobbled together a non-binding resolution giving the President an extension of the 60 days provided by the War Powers Resolution, asking for documents detailing our political and strategic goals, and slamming the administration for not providing “a compelling rationale” for military action. The resolution passed, 268-145, with 45 Democrats crossing the aisle and voting with the Republicans. More significantly, however, the Kucinich resolution – which would have cut off appropriations for the Libyan intervention – garnered more Republican votes (87) than Democratic “ayes” (61).

What’s going on here?

As The Hill reported, “one Democrat called it ‘the sign of the apocalypse.’” And while that may be overstating the case just a bit, the vote was indeed a sign of Something Big in the making.

It was more than mere partisan opportunism, although there’s no doubt some of that was a factor: this vote represents a sea change in the way Republicans, and conservatives generally, view the conduct of US foreign policy. For the first time since the Kosovo war, a significant faction within the GOP congressional caucus is challenging our bipartisan foreign policy of global intervention – of which the Libyan war is an exemplar.

Context is everything, and the economic crisis that has gripped the nation in recent months – underscored by an unemployment rate over 9 percent and a disastrous housing market – has driven home the point anti-interventionists have been making for years: we’re “nation-building” abroad while our own country is falling to pieces. This is something that everyone – even a Republican – can readily understand, and the freshman “tea party” class of 2010 is learning very quickly the lesson their elders refused to absorb during the Bush era: we can’t afford to police the world.

As for the Democrats, it’s not only party loyalty – and the threat of political retaliation – that’s keeping them in line. Minority leader Nancy Pelosi took to the House floor pleading with members of her own party to stay the course:

“As I have said before, the NATO-led efforts in Libya will be strengthened by continued consultation with the Congress. The resolutions by Speaker Boehner and Congressman Kucinich, as currently drafted, do not advance our efforts in the region and send the wrong message to our NATO partners.”

Pelosi was answered by Rep. Walter B. Jones, a North Carolina Republican whose district encompasses more military bases than any in the country:

“NATO’s feelings. NATO’s feelings. Well, how about the feelings of the American people? Isn’t it time that their feelings come first?”

That the American people overwhelmingly oppose US intervention in Libya matters not at all to the Pelosi-crats, and their Republican allies like Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois), who inexplicably declared: “This war, this action in Libya, I believe sells itself.”

The reality is that the public isn’t buying this bill of goods and the Pelosi-Kinzinger alliance of knaves and fools knows it.

On Saving America from the Horrors of Liberty and Community 10

“Preston’s vision emphasizes individuals choosing the communities they want and not bothering other people…”

A “watchdog” critic from the Left wants to save America from such a horrifying fate.  Read the whole thing at the New Politics site.

This critique by Lyons is actually quite good, and is light years ahead of previous efforts by leftists to critique my own work. I get the impression he is making an honest, serious, and intelligent effort to understand my own views and interpret them correctly. This is considerably different from the usual habit of my critics of either misrepresenting my work in a seemingly deliberate manner, or of simply lacking the level of skill, knowledge, or ability required to interpret my work correctly. There are not many actual quibbles I would have with this piece regarding facts alone, ideological differences aside. I do see some problems with matters of focus, emphasis, or proportionality. These problems affect the “big picture” analysis of my work by zeroing in on peripheral matters that are inconsequential to the most substantive aspects of my work. Lyons’ interpretation of the broader philosophical framework I adhere to is a bit crude, and he greatly oversimplifies some of my economic views. There are a few seeming contradictions in places. But all in all, it’s a good effort. I’ll have a thorough reply forthcoming relatively soon.

In Defense of Royalty 16

Article by Jef Costello.
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In recent months, when I would think ruefully of the peculiar life I lead, I took some solace in the thought that soon my invitation to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding would arrive.

Alas it did not, and I am writing these words hours after the nuptials ended – apparently without a hitch (if we don’t count the fashion disaster that was Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie of York). For weeks prior I was deliberately shocking everyone I know by telling them of my excitement about the Royal Wedding. Americans are all knee-jerk anti-monarchists. I am a knee-jerk pro-monarchist partly because I am a knee-jerk anti-American. My enthusiasm was always met with disbelief. “Who cares?” they would ask, grimacing at me. This question was often followed by the usual ignorant claims about the Royal Family being parasites and nitwits. (The biggest idiots are always the ones who make an exception for Princess Diana.)

Sadly, it’s becoming difficult to find a Brit who seems to think differently. Every time I meet one over here I always find a way to ask what they think about the Royal Family. “Oh, they’re all parasites and nitwits. Except for Diana,” they’ll say. Finding an Englishman who admits to liking the Royals is becoming about as hard as finding a German who admits to liking Wagner. And yet all the polls show the majority of the British public against the abolition of the monarchy. (Just as every summer Bayreuth is full of Germans.)

So, why do I like the British Royal Family so much? Well, partly it just has to do with the fact that I am pro-monarchy – and I am pro-monarchy because I am a Radical Traditionalist. That it is the British monarchy I am so passionate about is no mystery. My ancestry is English and my mother was a staunch Anglophile. She worshiped the Royals and imbued me with a respect for them, and for my English heritage.

Voting as a Sacrament in the State Religion Reply

Article by MRDA.
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For all the time Minchin spends ripping into religion, it’s tragicomic to see him endorsing one of his own; then again, it seems part and parcel of his sociopolitical outlook: supposedly irreligious Leftists haven’t disposed with God—simply replaced him. Why go to church when you can pop to the polling station, instead?

His obsession with ‘civic duty’, coupled with his evangelistic rhetoric (“Democracy require all voices.”), marks Minchin as a firm ‘n’ true believin’ democratard…

…and his enthusiastic endorsement of forcing the citizenry to the electoral Eucharist elevates (?) him to the status of democraturd.

Facebook friend, and Minchin’s fellow countryman, Schoma offers up an explanation for Tim’s turdiness…

I’ll bet his only reason is that he’s Australian, he’s grown up with compulsory voting and, just at a guess, he draws a false correlation between this country’s relatively good living standards/freedoms and compulsory voting.

…which sounds like the common fallacy amongst Western folk to equate democracy with civil liberty, even in instances where the former blatantly runs roughshod over the latter. A glance at how the non-Western world does democracy would surely be a bitchslap to their conceited conceptions; as Mupetblast said about the 2009 Iranian elections…

The vast majority of Iranian respondents, across the income spectrum (wherein higher income is associated with higher education), thought that abortion was never justifiable; that homosexuality was never justifiable; and that “men should have more right to job than women.”

In sum, what is it that Facebook fans of the Iranian uprising think will happen over there if their pleas are successful? … It seems to me that a perception that liberal, youthful, lovers of substantive freedom and a progressive ethos are up against a stodgy reactionary establishment is what motivates this enthusiasm. But if in fact the people they are supporting are even less liberal in orientation than a right-wing Republican (ooh, double shot!), and it appears that this is the case, what’s to get so excited about?

But then again, for a Western nation, Australia hasn’t been doing so well at the civil liberties itself, has it? With its overreaching defamation laws; proposed internet censorship; bans on porn, videogames, and suicide literature; and this-here elephant in the room known as compulsory voting, the nation of Oz sounds almost like an open-air version of its fictional “correctional facility” namesake.

It’s understandable how being raised in such a culture might contribute to moulding a mindset like Minchin’s…

…yet it doesn’t change the fact that ‘liberal’ remains a downright deceptive description of those who would subscribe to it.

Red Guards on Tofu Reply

My most recent column at Alternative Right. I analyze the stormtroopers on granola.
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The ultimate outcome of totalitarian humanism taken to its logical conclusion would be a totalitarian state organized as a kind of caste system whereby individual rights are assigned on the basis of group identity and group rights are assigned on the basis of the position of the group in the pantheon of the oppressed or on the victimological family tree.

Given these considerations, it might be apt to compare our present day lefto-fascist, stormtroopers-on-granola with the Red Guards of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. The Red Guards were, of course, bands of youthful vigilantes who scurried about China during the 1960s smashing up cultural artifacts deemed “old” (e.g. conservative, traditional) and engaging in vigilante violence against persons deemed “reactionary” (mostly dissident intellectuals and those labeled “bourgeois” or originating from politically incorrect cultural or class backgrounds.) We see a similar though milder version of this today in the West today with attacks on expressions of traditional culture (like Christmas celebrations), historical artifacts considered to be reactionary (like Confederate Civil War monuments or streets named after Confederate generals), and vigilante actions against people given labels like “racist,” “fascist,” “sexist,” or “classist.”

I suspect that these “antifa” types, these Red Guards-on-tofu, would be every bit as murderous and destructive if the authorities would sanction it, as Chairman Mao did during the Cultural Revolution. We’ve seen hints at this already with the nonchalant attitude of the authorities towards threats of murder and arson against innocent people made by the Antifa in response to American Renaissance’s planned gathering in 2010. Plenty of other incidents have occurred where destructive or violent behavior by those claiming to act in the name of noble causes like “anti-racism” and “anti-fascism” have been overlooked or dealt with leniently by authorities convinced of the purity of their motives or restrained by political pressure.

The great irony presented by the Antifa is that despite all of their posturing as radicals and revolutionaries, they’re essentially doing the establishment’s bidding. The attitudes they subscribe to are not fundamentally different from those of the liberal elite overlords of the wider society. The Red Guards-on-tofu are simply a smellier, more ill-mannered, undisciplined, more in-a-hurry version of the liberal establishment itself. Wouldn’t it be an even greater irony if indeed the growing counterculture of the alternative right were to grow into a large influential movement as the leftist counterculture and antiwar movements did in the 1960s, with the Antifa and their ilk assuming the role of the “hardhats”?

Reply to a Cultural Marxist Critic 8

A Leftist who uses the name of “Equus” has posted a limited critique of ATS on Royce Christian’s blog. Read it here.

My response:

Equus begins his rebuttal by offering a concise and helpful summary of the points of his refutation. I repeat it in full:

My objection to Third Positionism is that it first and foremost has an ahistorical approach inasmuch as it is leftist and only retroactively places itself there, using ideas and attitudes not formulated at the time of the conception of the left/right political spectrum. It claims to be neither left nor right and claims to be a synthesis of right and left ideas while rejecting the sole premise of left-wing ideology. Furthermore, it understands being anti-state as an ideological characteristic instead of a tactical characteristic; it would claim Anarchists and anti-government fascists are ideologically similar instead of correctly placing Anarchism as an ideology that opposes the state in the context of leftist politics. While it co-opts much of Anarchist rhetoric, it dismisses two key concepts: solidarity and community. Finally, it may not be an exclusively right-wing idea, but it provides an arena for people who oppose what Anarchists stand for to enter the conversation as legitimate actors and gives nothing back. I know little of Preston’s personal political background, and it is both irrelevant and hard to make the case that he is knowingly undermining Anarchism with his support of the Third Position. Regardless, his ideas have only provided a dangerous utility to the right that must be understood.

More…

Paul Gottfried and Me: An Exchange on Left and Right and Anarchism 10

Recently, there was an interesting exchange between Paul Gottfried and myself at AlternativeRight.Com. It began when I posted a  recommended reading list in response to similar lists posted by James Kalb and Richard Spencer. Paul Gottfried expressed puzzlement regarding the eclectic nature of the collection of readings I suggested as well as the incongruity of some of the influences I claim. I posted a response here and here.  Gottfried responded briefly here.

An understandable mistake that Gottfried continues to make is to presume that I am an orthodox modern libertarian of the kind identified with the Mises-Hayek-Rand-Friedman-Rothbard axis. While modern American libertarianism of this type is certainly an influence on my thinking, and I agree with libertarians of both the right and left variety on a good number of issues, this hardly represents the full body of my outlook. Gottfried also continues to be perplexed that I can be an admirer of right-wing critics of liberal democratic states like Carl Schmitt and Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn without endorsing the full body of their work, and taking their criticisms of the liberal democratic state in a radically different direction from what they intended (at least with Schmitt, Kuehnelt-Leddihn is more ambiguous).  The best analogy I can think of right now to explain this intellectual dilemma is to point out that many, probably most, leftists implicitly or explicitly endorse the Marxist critique of capitalism, without necessarily endorsing Marx’s prescription of communist revolution, much less outright Bolshevism. Likewise, it is possible to recognize the validity of Schmitt’s insights into the contradictions and theoretical errors in liberal democratic theory and the inadequacies of its practice, or Kuehnelt-Leddihn’s characterization of mass democracy as a prelude to totalitarianism, without endorsing their specific prescriptions of a Hobbesian state in the case of Schmitt or a traditional monarchy in the case of Kuehnelt-Leddihn.

This gets us to the question of the relationship of political anarchism to wider philosophical and metapolitical concepts.  I generally regard a Nietzschean general philosophical framework, a metapolitical outlook of the kind developed by the European New Right (while recognizing the multiple tendencies to be found within the ENR-see here), and a philosophical conservatism regarding human nature and the nature of society to be the best intellectual foundation for a modern political anarchism. On the latter question,  I described this particular type of philosophical conservatism at AltRight: ” natural inequality of persons at both the individual and collective levels, the inevitability and legitimacy of otherness, the superiority of organic forms of human organization over social engineering, rejection of vulgar economism, and a tragic view of life.”

However, I do not consider such an intellectual framework to be mandatory or necessary for a viable political anarchism, only preferable. Indeed, most anarchists at present would no doubt reject such an outlook. One could likewise be a committed anarchist revolutionary and hold to a Lockean natural rights position, a utilitarian outlook, a simple pragmatic philosophy in the style of William James, some kind of religious outlook, or even a Rousseau-inspired utopian-egalitarian-humanism. After all, I was an anarchist long before I developed the broader intellectual framework to which I now subscribe. Whatever the broader philosophical beliefs we may subscribe to, it remains true that one of the most important of all human questions is the matter of how society is to be organized, and the first question regarding social organization is the matter of statecraft, or the political question.

Until a few centuries ago, political rule was justified and legitimized by religion in virtually all societies. This outlook was demolished by the Enlightenment, and this particular aspect of Enlightenment thinking which began as a European project has now spread to much of the world.  Modern political philosophy is derivative of the ideas of Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Voltaire, Hegel, Mill, Marx, and some others. All of these systems would seem to be efforts to legitimize and retain the state while denying its traditional source of legitimization, i.e. its supposed divine origin. As I’ve mentioned recently, anarchism is to political theory what atheism is to theology (not that political anarchism necessitates atheism per se as there are also religious anarchists). There is in the anarchist canon a huge body of literature that demolishes the conventional intellectual arguments used to justify the state, and from a wide range of philosophical or theoretical perspectives, including socialists and individualists, religionists and atheists, philosophical liberals and philosophical conservatives, utilitarians, rights-theorists, moral skeptics, and nihilists. I regard all of these approaches as complementary rather than contradictory with one another.

The question that I have for anarchists is this: If we reject the legitimacy of the state, then how exactly do we go about getting rid of the damn thing? I have focused much of my own efforts on the question of anarchist strategy for the reason that I consider this to be one of the most important yet most neglected aspects of anarchist thinking. How can anarchism come to dominate Western civilization (or other civilizations for that matter) in the same way that Christianity was dominant for 1500 years and in the same way that Enlightenment liberalism has dominated for two centuries?

A major problem for anarchists is the one has also been a problem for Christians, particularly Protestants, and that is the question of sectarianism. Most anarchists have held to some kind of hyphenated brand of anarchism, e.g. anarcho-syndicalism, anarcho-communism, anarcho-capitalism, anarcha-feminism, national-anarchism, etc. Many of these sects of anarchism do not recognize many of the others as legitimate. I have tried to compensate for this problem by developing an “anarcho-pluralist” (a term I lifted from the late Sam Dolgoff) framework, and which is really just a re-working of older ideas like “anarchism without adjectives” and the “synthesist” outlook developed by the French anarchist movement in the pre-World War Two period. What would be the irreducible minimum of ideas one would have to accept to be reasonably considered to be an anarchist? I’d suggest that one would have to advocate abolition of the present system of rule by corporative entities commonly described as “the state” that hold a monopoly on the legal use of violence, rule-making, and physical coercion within a geographical territory, and whose members collectively form an identifiable political class who social role is differentiated from that of other people, e.g., whose purpose is simply “to rule.” This would mean opposing not only the corporative form of the state familiar to modern societies, but also systems of personal rule that were common in older societies, e.g. emperors, kings, etc.

It is also necessary to have an irreducible minimum of ideas concerning what the state is to be replaced with. The guiding principles for anarchists on this question have been voluntarism, mutualism, decentralism, and federalism. In other words, the state is to be replaced with federations of autonomous or semi-autonomous communities with a strong emphasis on voluntary associations and mutual aid, i.e., the general framework outlined by Proudhon, Bakunin, and Kropotkin (the “holy trinity” of the founding fathers of modern anarchism).  Presumably, the economic and cultural variations of such arrangements could be immensely different from one another. This seems to be where most of the difficulty concerning sectarianism among anarchists emerges. Conflicts regarding different economic and cultural values lead to different sects of anarchists attempting to exclude one another. A historic example of this was the rivalry between the anarcho-communist Johann Most and the individualist-anarchist Benjamin Tucker.

If we take political anarchism as our starting point, we can then branch out into other areas of political philosophy and identify tendencies, ideologies, and movements with which we have considerable overlap. These include paleoconservatism, populism, Catholic distributism, the traditional Jeffersonian philosophy that American political theory is ostensibly rooted in, and modern libertarianism from the Right. These also include varying strands of socialism, the various Green philosophies, black nationalism, indigenous peoples’ movements, neotribalism, and the anti-globalization movement from the Left. These are the areas where we can branch out into other movements and form strategic alliances and an enhanced theoretical framework.  At present, I would identify the main weaknesses in the anarchist milieu as these:

1) A failure to recognize that the absence of a centralized coercive authority in the form of the state automatically suggests pluralism in all sorts of matters, including perspectives that radically disagree with one another, even among self-proclaimed anarchists. This necessitates that anarchists recognize the inevitability and legitimacy of “otherness,” as opposed to some kind of abstract universalism. One reason why I endorse a Nietzschean philosophical framework for anarchism is its ethical subjectivism. Moral objectivism strikes me at least as holding the door open for authoritarianism of the kind associated with both traditional theocracy and modern forms of statism. There is no greater tyrant than one who possesses moral certainty. As H.L. Mencken said: ” The worst government is often the most moral. One composed of cynics is often very tolerant and humane. But when fanatics are on top there is no limit to oppression.

2) A failure to develop a viable strategic outlook concerning how the state is to be abolished. Ideas are worthless if they can’t be translated into real-world action. If other anarchists don’t like my ideas on this question, then they are welcome to come up with their own, of course. But the question of strategy is one that is severely neglected among anarchists.

3) The tendency of anarchists to get sucked into “culture war” politics that serve as a distraction from the broader struggle against the forces of State, Capital, and Empire. I’ve said plenty about this in the past and my views on this question are already well-known.

4) A failure to identify who the enemy actually is. In the Western world today, the primary enemy is the state’s legitimating ideology of totalitarian humanism (whether in its neoconservative or conventional left-liberal variations). The failure of anarchists to recognize totalitarian humanism for what it is severely limits their ability to form a viable movement of any kind. One of the most pathetic activities anarchists engage in at present is to waste time focusing on irrelevant fringe groups like the neo-Nazis or the Fred Phelps cult. The real enemy is those who actually hold state power, not exotic cults despised by the wider society. As for movements that are currently out of power, the greatest potential threat in posed by an insurgent Islam made possible by demographic change in the West. This the primary reason why I endorse the European New Right as the best available metapolitical framework for present day anarchists. More than any other contemporary intellectual current, the ENR has developed a critique of the philosophical underpinnings of totalitarian humanism, as well as a rational response to the question of threats posed by demographic transformation.

Until contemporary anarchists develop a serious and concentrated effort to overcome the weaknesses I have identified here, I regrettably see no prospects for anarchists to become an effective or even relevant movement.

Can’t We All Just Not Get Along? Reply

Kevin Carson on the real Obama.

Yeah, Obama’s been imposing a regular Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution on the country, all right.  A continuation of the Bush version of TARP, a doubling down on the war in Afghanistan, a scorched earth battle to defend Bush era war criminals against their rightful punishment, new claims of plenary Executive power….  The most “progressive” thing he’s done is a national version of Romneycare (you can almost hear the insurance CEOs crying “Please don’t fling me in that briar patch!”).

Obama’s even more of a managerial centrist than he let on during the campaign.  He was entirely truthful when he called himself a moderate. The real lie is the ideology of  moderation itself.

Obama lied when he said, “There is not a rich America, and a poor America….  We are one nation, one people.”

No, we’re not.  As Howard Zinn said, the U.S. political leadership talks as if there was some single “national interest” that “applied equally to all of us, colored or white, rich or poor, as if General Motors and Halliburton have the same interests as the rest of us, as if George Bush has the same interest as the young man or woman he sends to war.”  But it’s a lie…

…The idea that Obama is “hard-Left” is utterly laughable.  There is no Left in mainstream American politics.  Nancy Pelosi’s husband is an investment banker.  Joe Biden was the Senator from MBNA, and now he’s the Vice President from the MPAA.

The genuine Left was virtually destroyed, as a major political force, during Woodrow Wilson’s War Hysteria and Red Scare.  Since then, popular anger has been pretty effectively distorted and channeled by the myth of America as a “middle class country” with a common “national interest.”